March College Basketball Viewing 101.
March is finally upon us...and it's a good thing because Wisconsin February's are downright brutal. With the new month comes added responsibility. I'm not talking about getting a jump start on your taxes or finding an establishment to hit up on St. Patrick's Day (though it's never too early to figure that out). I'm speaking about the responsibility we have as sports fans to join forces and consume as much of the wondrous spectacle that is college basketball in March.
Year after year, championship week and the NCAA tournament deliver in a major way. It's one of the few sporting events that starts off with a big enough bang to force the working public to be creative in their at-work viewing habits. Some will scurry around the office like mice looking for an empty conference room...others will take a 3 hours lunch...some will even buy the on-line package and watch from their office or cube. Ingenuity in this venture is appreciated and comical, but this once a year event deserves more. So take some well deserved vacation days and head out on the town, out to Vegas, or plop yourself right on the couch and enjoy the not so dulcet tones of Bill Raftery and Gus Johnson is right from your own couch with food, some friends, stunning HD quality, and your favorite beverage.
If you plan to host a gathering of friends, allow me to outline a few important considerations to ensure a high quality experience.
If you haven't hopped into the HDTV world, forget about hosting a gathering of any kind, for any sporting event. I don't care if you get U2 to play a live concert from your backyard in between games - no large HDTV, no chance.
BRACKET SMACK TALK:
Go ahead and bring all your brackets to the party, but don't be the person who brags about picking Cornell over Villanova after you lost twelve of your first sixteen games. No body likes a paper tiger.
With the weather improving, the urge to grill may consume you. Don't fall into this trap as it takes away from your game viewing. The last thing anyone wants is for a burnt cheddarwurst to get in the way of a buzzer-beater. Catering is a great way to go...party platter, pizza, buritto bar...it's up to you.
GAMBLING: (for entertainment purposes only)
Go straight up on games or create a game of your own. Take the top 3 scorers from each team playing Thursday and Friday and throw 'em into a hat. Have everyone at the gathering draft a starting 5. Top point total at the end wins!
Since some attendees might be new parents, I completely understand and appreciate the dedication is takes to be great mothers and fathers. Your child will not be able to gamble, nor will they be allowed to be offered up as a prize for winning, but they can attend the gathering if it gives you, the parent, more piece of mind.
College basketball never fails in March, so why not embrace the time and soak it all in. Following the tips outlined above will ensure a memorable experience that you will revel in and repeat in future years.